Agenda item - Presentation - Covid Recovery Strategy

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Agenda item

Presentation - Covid Recovery Strategy

Joint Presentation


Covid Update and Recovery Strategy


14.1    The Director of Public Health, Alistair Hill, gave a detailed presentation detailing the arrangements being put into place going forward both to seek to continue to contain the number of cases across the city and importantly to foster and sustain recovery and to build in resilience in the event of further future spikes. Whilst the mortality rate across the city was low compared to other places all partners were working to ensure that there was sufficient resilience going forward, details of infection levels and mortality rates week by week were shown. The slides accompanying this presentation were displayed at the meeting and would also be attached to the agenda on the Council website.


14.2    It was considered very important to have mechanisms in place to support local economic recovery and in order to do so it was important to understand and put into context the data which had been collected, in order to ensure a timely and co-ordinated approach and to have good local governance in place. Since the onset of the pandemic recent weeks it had been possible to capture data in a more sophisticated way and it agreed that would be a valuable tool going forward. The local outbreak since June had been low and it would be critical to seek critical to seek to maintain that flattened curve.


14.3    It should be noted that the first meeting of the Local Health Protection Board had taken place earlier that day, these involved all relevant partners would be held regularly and would have a broad agenda in order to respond to the complex issues which had arisen in respect of the current pandemic and any further issues which might arise in future. As information had emerged in respect of high-risk settings that would inform work priorities, In addition to other partners Healthwatch was being kept fully in the loop and that involvement would continue. “Test and Trace” was seen as integral to this, particularly in terms of seeking to help prevent a surge or second wave in the autumn.


14.4    Councillor Bagaeen referred to the current availability of data and sought more information regarding the co-ordination mechanisms in place particularly in respect of the trigger points for action to be taken and to ensure that dynamic risk assessments were carried out, also the connection between the partners and the role of the Board. It was confirmed that information was now available on a granular level by postcode which would enable any emerging trends to be identified and responded to rapidly. The Outbreak Plan would be shared with all stakeholders who would have input, whilst some in the Plan needed to remain confidential the available information would be shared as widely as possible in order to work effectively with partners across Sussex.


14.5    Councillor Nield asked whether/what arrangements were in place to provide mobile/walk in testing across the city, noting that a mobile testing unit had been provided at the Brighton Racecourse. Also, regarding information available in relation to compliance with the requirements to self-isolate. It was explained that there were limitations on the measures which could be put into place in terms of assisting people to self-isolate and it was considered that could be more difficult once the current furlough arrangements ceased. An integrated response was in place to work with local community workers and hubs across the city and to ensure an integrated response. The Cleaner Air measures which were to put in place would provide improvements to the quality of life for all whilst being of particular benefit to those who had respiratory problems.


          Communications Strategy – Public information


14.6    The Head of Communications, Clare Saul, gave a presentation detailing the communications strategy which had been put into place which would also operate in co-operation with neighbouring authorities and stakeholders in the event of cross-border outbreaks occurring. Effective communication was recognised as a key element in managing and mitigating the Covid 19 pandemic. The Local Engagement Board would play a key role in public facing communications and engagement to strengthen national and local messages.


14.7    The outline communications plan which had been drawn up aimed to set out the communication activity required during the set up and roll out of the local outbreak plan and what would be required during any local outbreak. As this subject matter could cause anxiety for residents, organisations and businesses it was understood that simple communication was required which gave clear information about what people needed to do, when and how. It was also seen as important to promote “Test and Trace”. There had been an interface with local community hubs and organisations and a variety of mediums had been used including social media, the council website, regular by-lined pieces and traditional media including posters etc., across the city. The message was to encourage behaviours which helped to keep everyone safe and to keep the infection rates across the city low.


14.8    Councillor Childs referred to the fact that a number of residents had reported to him that they were very concerned that a number of passengers were not wearing masks on public transport (local buses) and in consequence were exposing others to risk. The Head of Communications responded that it was difficult for drivers to enforce as some exemptions were in place, it these not always apparent to whom they applied and drivers often, understandably, were reluctant to be confrontational. It was largely a matter of public education and hopefully constant reinforcement of messages around social distancing and responsible behaviours would have the desired outcome. The Council’s own communications team and the bus company itself were doing a lot of work on this issue and it was hoped that by encouraging compliance the current 85% compliance rate could be improved upon. In order to continue to control any potential second wave it was important to continue to communicate with clear, unequivocal, simple messages which could be easily understood.


14.9    Councillor Nield stated that now lockdown had eased somewhat and people had become more used to wearing face coverings that use of re-usable materials should be encouraged and it was agreed that would be taken on board.


14.10  Councillor Shanks, the Chair, welcomed the presentations, stating that it was clear that effective communications lay at the heart of dealing with the pandemic, some of that needed to be Member led and she anticipated that the Board should have an over-arching role.


14.11  RESOLVED - That the contents of the presentations be received and noted.


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